Posted on May 14, 2019


The Elephantine Papyri. Robert Hutto. Through the nineteenth century and into the beginning of the twentieth, a collection of papyri was found at and around a. The Elephantine papyri are written in Aramaic, the lingua franca of the Persian period from Asia Minor to Arabia and Upper. Egypt. In vocabulary, phraseology. One of the oldest collections of Jewish manuscripts, dating from the fifth century BCE, the Elephantine papyri were written by the Jewish community at.

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Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan. The “Petition to Elephangine Sayce-Cowley collection is a letter written in BCE to Bagoasthe Persian governor of Judea, appealing for assistance in rebuilding the Jewish temple in Elephantine, which had recently been badly damaged by an antisemitic rampage on the part of a segment of the Elephantine community.

Image of document in gallery below. The Elephantine Papyri in Elephantinf Porten, Bezalel with J. Oxford University Press, In other projects Wikimedia Commons.

They found at least eight papyrus rolls which were purchased by Charles Edwin Wilbour. The ‘Passover letter’ of BCE discovered inwhich gives detailed instructions for properly keeping the passover is in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin.

Elephantine papyri

The first modern indications as to the existence of this community were revealed in papyri bought by Giovanni Belzoni. Official excavation of the island commenced inproviding an archaeological context for the fascinating details of daily life revealed in the archives. Egyptian farmers discovered the archive of Ananiah and Tamut on Elephatine Island inwhile digging for fertilizer in the remains of ancient mud-brick houses.

During the Persian Period in Egypt, it was not uncommon to sell children, or even oneself, into slavery to pay debts.


Sachau, 6; Ungnad, 6; Cowley, For his daughter Yehoishema’s dowry, Ananiah had transferred to her partial ownership of the house he shared with Tamut. This page was last edited on 1 Decemberat Webarchive template wayback links Pages using citations with accessdate and no URL Commons category link from Wikidata.

There was a papjri of both governors Bagoas and Delaiah which gave the permission by decree to rebuild the temple written in the form of a memorandum: The community also appealed for aid to Sanballat Ia Samaritan potentate, and his sons Delaiah and Shelemiahas well as Johanan ben Eliashib.

There is evidence from excavations that the rebuilding and enlargement of the Khnum temple under Nectanebo II — took the place of the former temple of YHWH.

Elephantine Papyri – Ancient Near East

The Elephantine Papyri consist of documents from the Egyptian border fortresses of Elephantine and Syene Aswanwhich yielded hundreds of papyri in Hieratic and Demotic EgyptianAramaicGreekLatin and Copticspanning a period of years. In this case, Ananiah and Tamut already had a young son when the document was drawn up. The boundary elephantiine included here refers to the Temple of Yahou in Elephantine, now rebuilt eight years after its destruction in BCE during a civil war conflict that arose out of a elephantinee dispute.

So do you count fou[rteen days of the month of Nisan and] obs[erve the passover ], and from the 15th to the 21st day of [Nisan observe the festival of unleavened bread].

Egyptian slaves retained control over personal property, had professions, and were elepphantine to compensation.

The Elephantine Papyri

Wikimedia Commons has elephwntine related to Elephantine papyri. In addition, special provision was made to free the couple’s son, also a slave to Meshullam; perhaps Ananiah consented to the small dowry of either 7 or 15 shekels the text is ambiguous in order to obtain his son’s freedom. The eight papyri contained at the Brooklyn Museum concern one particular Jewish family, providing specific information about the daily lives of a man called Ananiah, a Jewish temple official; his wife, Tamut, an Egyptian slave; and their children, over the course of forty-seven years.


Though some fragments on papyrus are much older, the largest number of papyri are written in Aramaicthe lingua franca of the Persian Empireand document the Jewish community among soldiers stationed at Elephantine under Persian rule, — BCE. Do not br]ing it into your dwellings but seal it up between these date[s. As an institution, slavery in Egypt at that time differed in notable ways from the practice in some other cultures: They included an Egyptian who held the post of gardener of the Egyptian god Khnum papyrk, on the other side, two Persian boatmen.

This unique Jewish community possessed its own temple to Yahweh on the island, apparently functioning alongside the long-established cult shrine of the local ram-headed deity Khnum.

And though a slave could marry a free person, their children usually belonged to the master. They are a collection of ancient Jewish manuscripts elephsntine from the 5th century BCE.

To] my brethren Yedoniah and the Jewish garrison, your brother Hanani[ah]. Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Be ritually clean and take heed. In contrast to Jewish documents like this one, contemporaneous Egyptian marriage documents were negotiated between a husband and papyei.

As with all property transfers within a family, this gift was described as made “in love”.